Ben Brown Fine Arts is pleased to announce our second solo exhibition of works by Heribert C. Ottersbach, widely considered to be one of the most distinguished contemporary German painters working today. The exhibition offers a comprehensive insight into the artist’s creative output since 2008 and demonstrates Ottersbach’s shift from landscape to urban painting, featuring paintings on canvas and a selection of works on paper.
The processes of Modernity, debates surrounding the discourse of painting and the relationship of the artist to society and history are central themes in Ottersbach’s work. Born in Cologne in 1960, the artist has lived through landmark events that were recognised as history in the making. The fall of the Berlin Wall was particularly significant for Ottersbach as it represented the end of Utopianism, the ideals of modernism and a shift into the realms of post modernity; new perspectives of society and histories that could be created.
“If painting still wants to be taken seriously within the overall social discourse, and not be dismissed as office, insurance, or bank building-compatible service, it must establish its canon anew. Less is no longer more.” – Heribert C. Ottersbach
Ottersbach's paintings make a specific artistic contribution to the discourse of our present time without sacrificing their autonomy as an artistic medium. Like Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke before him, an essential component of Ottersbach’s creative process is the compilation of an archive of pre-existing images from everyday life; newspaper images, the artist’s own photos and other media are carefully culled from cultural-historical and private archives as well as from the internet.
Ottersbach subsequently develops his ideas for paintings from these researched materials and from his own drawing designs, which he later recomposes with the help of the computer. This amalgamation results in a ‘synthetic painting’ whose architecture, interiors, situations, and people often appear like visions in a dream, each one a fabrication of the artist. Furthermore, the images take on their full cultural significance, their true value, only in relationship to the observer’s interpretations. They have as many meanings as there are viewers since the meaning depends on individual experiences and collective memory. Ottersbach both recuperates a historical moment and actively intervenes in the writing of a new story.
About Heribert C. Ottersbach
Born in 1960 in Cologne, Ottersbach studied art and philosophy at the University of Cologne between 1979 and 1983. Over the years, Ottersbach has held a number of prominent visiting professor positions, including with the Centro de Arte e Communicaçao Visual, Lisbon, Portugal from 1992 to 1993, and in 2003 with the California State University in Los Angeles. Recently appointed professor of painting and graphics at the world renowned Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig, Ottersbach took his place as the successor of German painter, Neo Rauch.
Since the mid 1980s, Ottersbach’s works have been included over one hundred international group and solo exhibitions and are held in some of the most important international collections today including the permanent collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Getty Center, Los Angeles, and National Gallery, Canberra, Australia amongst others.
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